Summary

Diamond is one of twenty works produced by contemporary artists for the Cubitt Print Box in 2000. Cubitt is an artist-run gallery and studio complex in north London. In 2001 the complex moved from King’s Cross to Islington and the prints were commissioned as part of a drive to raise funds to help finance the move, and to support future exhibitions and events at the new gallery space. All the artists who contributed to the project had previously taken part in Cubitt’s programme. The portfolio was produced in an edition of 100 with twenty artists’ proofs; Tate’s copy is number sixty-six in the series.

Jones’ lithograph is on heavy card with a slightly glossy finish. The print depicts the simple geometric shape of a black diamond on a white background. The points of the diamond reach precisely to the edges of the paper, touching just at the midpoint of each of the four sides. The precise lines and stark tonal contrast between the black diamond and the white paper make the relationship between figure and ground ambiguous; it is possible to view the work as four precise white triangles framing a black background.

The print makes a direct reference to Black Square, 1913 (State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg) by Kasimir Malevich (1878-1935). The simplicity and geometric precision of the print recall Minimalism, particularly the early work of Frank Stella (born 1936; see Black Series II, 1967, Tate P78380-P78387) and Sol LeWitt (born 1928; see Composite Series, 1971, Tate P07061-P07065). Jones is also indebted to the formal abstraction of Josef Albers (1888-1976; see Study for Homage to the Square, 1964, Tate T02312). Diamond is typical of a certain strand in Jones’ work. He has displayed abstract geometric sculptures with conceptual pieces which question the ideals implicit in high modernism. The print relates to a sculptural work, Tape Loop (Diamond), 2000 in which the thin black tape from audio cassettes is wound around brackets attached to the wall to form a diamond shape.

Further reading:
Polly Staple, ‘Craft Work’, Frieze, no.67, May 2002, www.frieze.com/column_single.asp?back=1&c=72.
Dan Fox, ‘Gareth Jones’, Frieze, no.53, June/July/August 2000, p.121.
Suzanne Cotter, ‘Gareth Jones: Cabinet’, Flash Art, vol.33, no.213, Summer 2000, p.117.

Rachel Taylor
March 2004